Everesting

George Mallory

Everesting is an activity in which cyclists or runners ascend and descend a given hill multiple times, in order to have cumulatively climbed 8,848 meters (29,029 ft) (the elevation of Mount Everest).

The first event described as ‘Everesting’ was by George Mallory, grandson of George Mallory, who disappeared on Everest in 1924. The younger Mallory ascended Mount Donna Buang in 1994, having ridden eight ‘laps’ of the 1,069-meter hill. The format and rules were cemented by cyclist Andy van Bergen, inspired by the story of Mallory’s effort. In the first official group effort, van Bergen organized 65 riders, 40 of whom finished the Everesting attempt.

George Mallory’s Everesting attempt in 1994 was written up into an article in 2012, which first prompted others to take on this challenge. The widespread growth of GPS technology and social media – particularly Strava and Zwift – has been vital in allowing riders to accurately measure distance, elevation and height gain, while also sharing information about their ride. Writer and cyclist Andy van Bergen has been key to popularizing the idea through the Hells 500 group, which had been created as a social group to allow its members to complete and share cycling challenges. Hells 500 created the Everesting website, which established the parameters of the challenge, and started documenting attempts.

Everesting has grown among both amateur cyclists as a challenging but achievable goal, and among professionals or retired professionals who have sought to break Everesting time records. It rose further in popularity during 2020 when the Covid-19 Pandemic resulted in cancelled races, and lockdowns prevented cycling club rides or travel for cycling challenges. This forced riders to seek new challenges, that could be completed on local roads, or on virtual platforms (sometimes called vEveresting).

A number of related challenges have spun-off from the original Everesting challenge. Riders have attempted double, triple or even quadruple Everests. The Everesting website has multiple suggestions for variants of the challenge, including an Everesting 10k challenge – that is, to continue past the 8,848 meters (29,029 ft) of Everest to reach a cumulative height of 10,000 meters (33,000 ft) – as a stretch goal, or a Half-Everest as an easier target.

Everesting is a personal challenge, and as such there is no official sanctioning body: the only criterion is that 8,848 meters (29,029 ft) of climbing is completed in a single ride or run. To be accepted as a ride on the Everesting website, an attempt must be recorded on Strava or Zwift; timed as one effort, with any breaks for food or rest included in the attempt’s elapsed time; completed by going up and down one route of ascent only, avoiding loops; continuous, with athletes cycling or running down the slope as well as up it (e.g., they cannot be taken by car down the slope); completed using a bike that does not have a motor. Everesting recognizes different rules for variants of the challenge, some of which incorporate sleeping or longer rest breaks to ensure rider safety.

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